Friday, October 23, 2009


Dear Noah,

I suppose you're likely NOT a memephile, so I'll just have to point to that comment wherein I declare myself an authoritarian (if not an authority) when it comes to jargonisms. Perhaps you'll find it interesting.

We used to have such lovely words as "gentlewoman" and "trencherman"; and we've got plenty of adjectival constructions, such as "male student" (if you think of "student" as a noun) and "student teacher" (if you think of "student" as an adjective). So why, when speaking of clerical orders these days do we talk of (notional) "women clergy", "women priests", and so forth? Back "in the day", we might speak of "priestesses"; I suppose nowadays that would be considered viricentric/andronomial, or even chauvinist? Or is it perhaps considered paganizing? Do we not like the plain reminder that, for all the echoes of Christianity in paganisms so many modern folk read backwards, there's plenty of pagan custom that Christianity simply never blessed?

Incidentally, Watercloset breeders take note: your task has become so much simpler!

Yours truely,
An Oxford reader; if attrocious speller


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